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'Elephant man' of India lives in agony with facial tumor that resembles trunk

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/21/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Unable to function for the most part, he is aided by his two nieces

Thirty-five-year-old Chana Lal is an Indian man suffers from an outsize facial tumor that resembles an elephant's trunk - his nine-pound growth makes it very difficult for him to function, find work or live.

Lal returned to the doctor at the age of 25 after his family finally raised enough money for surgery. During the surgery, doctors cut into a main blood vessel and Lal started bleeding uncontrollably.

Lal returned to the doctor at the age of 25 after his family finally raised enough money for surgery. During the surgery, doctors cut into a main blood vessel and Lal started bleeding uncontrollably.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/21/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: India, deformity, alone


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lal has given up on all hope of ever receiving plastic or corrective surgery and plans to live out his days as a "freak." Unable to eat or talk properly, Lal's tumor has grown from his face down to his chest.

Living in a remote village just outside Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, he avoids mirrors and lives alone, supported by his two nieces.

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Chana Lal, 35, who lives in a remote village just outside Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh, India, can

Chana Lal, 35, who lives in a remote village just outside Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh, India, can't eat or talk properly because of his large facial tumor.


Suffering from severe neurofibromatosis, a onetime small facial deformity blossomed into a "trunk." Lal has attempted surgery in the past, most recently ten years ago. He nearly bled to death and doctors told him to never try it again if he wanted to live.

"I have an ugly face; I don't even like looking at myself in the mirror so I don't expect anyone else to look at me either," he says. "I would love to have surgery but I have lost all hope. I almost died last time I had surgery so I doubt anything can be done to this face."

Lal

Lal's parents were offered money to display him during shows when he was a child, but they refused.


Born with a very small blemish on his face at his home in the village where he still resides, born into poverty where there were no doctors or hospitals nearby, he did not see a medical professional until he was eight years of age.

"I knew there was something strange about my face when children would run away from me," he said. "I remember crying to my mother and she told me directly that I had a scary face. After that I never asked anyone to play with me again."

Lal lives as a recluse in the village, but is helped with his day to day activities by two of his ni

Lal lives as a recluse in the village, but is helped with his day to day activities by two of his nieces.


His late parents took him to a doctor, but the fee for treatment was too expensive and they went home.

Lal's parents were even offered money by a travelling circus to showcase him, but they refused.

Lal returned to the doctor at the age of 25 after his family finally raised enough money for surgery. During the surgery, doctors cut into a main blood vessel and Lal started bleeding uncontrollably.

Although he picks up work when he can, Lal says it is painful to work with the tumor.

Although he picks up work when he can, Lal says it is painful to work with the tumor.


The tumor has now grown so large that Lal has lost his eyesight in his left eye and hearing in his left ear.

"I can't even chew because my jaw has dropped and my teeth can't do their job. I'd love to know what it's like to bite into a juicy apple, he says.

Although he takes work as a laborer on building sites when he can, manual work is often painful.

"I'm in agony. My head hurts when I have to carry heavy things but I don't complain; the boss wouldn't give me work if he heard me moan."

One of his nieces, Suman Verma has tried to find her uncle a wife.

"I feel very sad for my uncle when I think of him alone," she says.

"I want him to have a normal life like all my other uncles. When I was younger I used to be scared of him but I've got used to his face now. He's a softly spoken caring man; I've never seen him get angry.

"We're trying to find him a wife, but families turn away when they see his condition. I want a woman to love my uncle for who he is."

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